Early in the morning of Tuesday 17th April, 14 intrepid travellers, all members of Keswick Photographic Society, set off from Keswick in pouring rain and howling wind for a three day club visit to Edinburgh. As we headed up the M6, with heavy spray on the windscreen obliterating the view, I was concerned about our prospects for surviving this weather let alone enjoying an adventure. Some of our members have still not moved from Leica, Nikon or Sony cameras to Canon, so I was fearful for their equipment too!
Fortunately, I had ordered perfect weather and by the time we reached Falkirk, the rain had stopped and confidence in my planning skills had been restored. We all enjoyed the experience of The Falkirk Wheel trip on this quite unique apparatus which lifts canal boats up 30 metres from the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union Canal. Previously this operation took a whole day to navigate through the staircase of 11 locks.
It is just a few miles to drive to The Helix eco-park where we had a delightful lunch in the visitor centre. This was eagerly followed by a photographic exercise around the very impressive Kelpies. By this time we were experiencing glorious weather which presented interesting skies for the many ‘snaps!’ We later made our way to the hotel in Leith where a number of us strolled along the shoreline before meeting up for dinner and a ‘few’ social
After breakfast on Day 2 we all visited the Royal Yacht Britannia. This is Scotland’s premier visitor attraction and with good cause. The vessel is impressively maintained. It is in an excellent location which has been significantly developed over the last few years to capture the interests of the tourist and shopper alike. The tour itself is complemented by a very good individual audio system and even the on-board tea room served excellent snacks and meals. The group was appropriately lectured about looking both ways before crossing the busy Edinburgh streets and they spread out into the city centre to enjoy the many sights and attractions on offer, including the Royal Mile, The Castle, Scott’s Monument, Arthur’s Seat and much more. Thankfully everyone made it back to the hotel in time for our planned dinner appointment at the Loch Fynne restaurant a short distance away. It was a brilliant meal and another very enjoyable social occasion for us all, which after all, is what the trip was about.
On Day 3 as we checked out of the hotel the group could have been forgiven for making their way back to Keswick but with the weather behaving much better than most of our party there was a reluctance to abandon this beautiful city just yet. Though the day was unplanned, at least ten of us found ourselves being entertained by Meerkats, Pandas, Scottish Wild Cats and Gelada Baboons in Edinburgh zoo. This facility has changed dramatically over the years and now, to its credit, focuses principally on the preservation of endangered species.
By late afternoon most of us managed to escape from the premises unchallenged which rounded off what we all felt had been a really good social event, where photography quite properly was secondary to the main purpose; having FUN!